IRAN AND LIBYA SANCTIONS ACT OF 1996 (House of Representatives - June 18, 1996)

Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from California [Mr. Berman], also an original cosponsor of the bill.

Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member of the committee for yielding this time.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus my comments in addressing the remarks just made by my friend, the gentleman from Wisconsin. First of all, given his comments, I am quite pleased that he was willing to support this bill when it moved through the Committee on International Relations, and I appreciate that support.

Second, Mr. Speaker, the bill does not affect exports to Iran. The bill affects and imposes sanctions on companies which invest in Iran, which meet the threshold of investment in Iran, and just in Iran's energy sector. It is a targeted bill focused on trying to squeeze the source of financing for a totally accepted, universally acknowledged practice that the Iranians have of exporting terrorism and financing terrorism throughout the Middle East and in other areas, as well to meet their own purposes. It seeks to squeeze the financing by blocking the investments in Iran's energy sector so they are hampered in what everybody acknowledges is their concerted effort to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Iran is seeking a nuclear reactor. They claim they are for peaceful purposes. This is the most oil-rich country in the world. The notion that they need a peaceful nuclear energy program for energy sources is absurd on its face. No one but the most innocent and unsophisticated observer can assume there is any other purpose in their particular program.

I want to comment on the European reaction, particularly the German and Japanese reaction. They say our way is better, our way is constructive dialog. They have been engaged in this constructive dialog for years and years and years, with nothing to show for it. The Iranian and Libyan effort to develop weapons of mass destruction continues. The support for terrorism continues. I suggest that these arguments about finding moderate, geopolitical considerations, are all smokescreens for commercial interests which are governing that particular policy.

What happened to a western alliance of free would countries that was committed in the course of the cold war to dealing with totalitarian actions, imperialism, aggressive conduct, and seeking to reduce and avoid the threat of nuclear war? Has it been so blown apart that countries that share our values and claim to share our values turn their back, pursue policies that are just smokescreens for commercial interests, and watch this happen?

This bill that the gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman] and the gentleman from Connecticut [Mr. Gejdenson] are sponsoring, and I am a cosponsor of, and has been supported in our committee, is one crucial step to make our sanctions meaningful. They are a message to countries that we are allied with normally, that they have to think twice about what has come from constructive dialog.

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